Why writing well is more important than ever


It can help us think better, learn better, and even be more hireable.

Writing clearly and correctly is a sign of thinking clearly. It can be hard to control our thoughts, but easier to control our words because we can reflect on our words before we write or speak. In fact, it is our words that allow us to shape our thoughts.

This is why we should give it importance: language, including in its written form, is a tool for transmitting concepts. The more correct the manner of expression is, the more accurately the content will be passed on. The way you write says as much about you as the way you dress — if you’re careless, or pay attention to details, or go the extra mile to seek elegance.

Despite the cultural trend towards the speed and brevity of Twitter and of other social networks and new forms of communication, using handwriting and knowing how to write correctly are two important aspects of communication that improve our quality of life.

This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t ever send a quick text message with some abbreviation; nor are we saying everyone should try to be Shakespeare. However, if we always write with abbreviations and improper grammar and syntax, always looking to save time and space and not caring about proper spelling, we end up losing the ability to express ourselves with correctness, let alone conceptual richness. It means losing some of the essence of what we want to communicate.

Concerned by the alarming loss of “good writing,” universities around the world have begun an effort to recover this noble art and avoid people saying that not even university graduates know how to write. Here are four reasons writing well is once again considered a valuable skill …

Writing helps us be much better communicators.

When we write, we’re less spontaneous than when we speak. We know our words are going to be there, on the screen or on paper, available for scrutiny, so we think about what we want to say and how to say it in a way that will be comprehensible, correct, and concrete. This process helps us calm down and think more clearly, putting our thoughts in order and listening to ourselves as we write and re-read.

Writing helps us to learn.

Various studies demonstrate that writing and taking notes by hand, and especially in cursive, helps us to learn language better and retain more information.

Writing helps us to visualize and to organize our thoughts, and consequently, to make better decisions.

The more clearly we write out our thoughts and ideas, the better we can make decisions. There’s a reason that reading and writing is an ancient formula that’s lasted thousands of years.

Writing well gives us advantages in the job market.

You know how bothersome it is to receive a confusingly written email, full of grammar and spelling mistakes? Would you hire someone who writes like that for a job where communication with coworkers and superiors is a daily requirement? If someone can’t write a simple email well, how could they be expected to write a report? Being able to write well is a clear advantage for many professions.

Learning how to write with both content and appearance that is clear, correct, and even elegant takes time and effort, but it will pay off in the long run. For thousands of years, the written word has been a key to transmitting knowledge of all kinds, from the ridiculous and mundane to the sublime and even the divine, the Word of God. We may not think we have anything that important to communicate, but everyone will appreciate it if, at the very least, we do it well. It’s a skill we need to exercise and pass on to future generations.